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ISBN: 9781906551322
AUTHOR: Bruce Heywood
A Singular Exmoor Man
A Singular Exmoor Man
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Hailed as the greatest naturalist of his time on Exmoor, Hector Heywood was a man of all seasons totally at one with nature, whether it was farming, harbouring the deer or birds-nesting.

He was a crack shot, could plough a straight furrow (set up by driving to his handkerchief tied in the hedge), build a wall or lay a hedge with the best of them.

Born in 1905, the story of Hector’s life really begins with his forbears, Exmoor farmers on both sides of his family. He was heavily influenced in his formative years by his uncle Ernest Bawden, the famous huntsman of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds. Hector was a strong man and possessed of an iron will. He knew no fear in galloping the moor, going down a cliff face on a rope end or up the most difficult of trees to climb. Yet according to the psychotherapist Tim Williams Hector became a troubled man from the age of seven because of his involvement in his brother’s tragic death. This led on to becoming a difficult man to live with, before, and after his marriage. One can only have great admiration for his long-suffering wife Joan, born into the purple of commerce, but who after marrying Hector in 1940 led a life of trial and no little hardship.

In this perceptive biography of an extraordinary countryman, both hugely talented and staggeringly awkward, Hector’s son Bruce Heywood paints an honest yet sympathetic portrait of his father, and of the host of colourful characters who touched Hector’s life. Anyone with an interest in Exmoor in particular, or English country life in the twentieth century in general, will be fascinated by the story of this cussed, yet ultimately intriguing character.

Bruce Heywood was born at Withypool on Exmoor in 1942. He went to Christ’s Hospital School near Horsham for 9 years. In 1964 he went to Seale-Hayne Agricultural College. After a variety of jobs in and relating to agriculture, he settled to farming. He married Constance Ashwin from Londesborough, East Yorkshire in 1970; they had two children, Victoria and Oliver. An opportunity on his fatherin- law’s estate to farm a larger farm precipitated a move, lock, stock and barrel, from North Devon. He is keen on country sports, hunting with the Holderness Foxhounds in East Yorkshire for 14 seasons. He also owned and trained a few point-to-pointers, the best of which, “Ocean Day” won the prestigious Grimthorpe Gold Cup two years running.

He moved back down onto his native Exmoor to farm at Sanctuary within the parish of Dulverton, where he has hunted with the Devon and Somerset Staghounds for 16 seasons. He was successful as a Conservative candidate in the local elections in May 2011 and represents the Dulverton and District ward on the West Somerset District Council.

This is Bruce’s first book, which was initiated by a request from Oliver for more knowledge of his grandfather, Hector.

Imprint: Ryelands. ISBN 978 1 906551 32 2, hardback, 297x210mm, 160 pages. Published August 2012.

 
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Rejoice again at the antics of Farmer Fred, the genteel aspirations of Missus (whose Christmas present last year was the gloves that came free with a bag of rat poison), the incredulity of the ‘newcomers’ and the generally superior attitude of the assorted livestock. Discover anew the centrality of Exmoor to world affairs in the latest tome from the indominatable Norma Huxtable.
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Web Price: £19.99
23.17 EUR 24.99 USD 32.74 AUD

 
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